JP5080447B2 - Method and apparatus for context recognition in groupware clients - Google Patents

Method and apparatus for context recognition in groupware clients Download PDF

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JP5080447B2
JP5080447B2 JP2008507015A JP2008507015A JP5080447B2 JP 5080447 B2 JP5080447 B2 JP 5080447B2 JP 2008507015 A JP2008507015 A JP 2008507015A JP 2008507015 A JP2008507015 A JP 2008507015A JP 5080447 B2 JP5080447 B2 JP 5080447B2
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data
context
groupware
workflow
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JP2008537238A (en
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イリーナ・ヴォグラー−イヴァシャンカ
ニール・コル
デニス・ムーア
フレデリック・サムソン
ナラヤン・ナヤール
エリック・ウッド
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エスアーペー アーゲーSap Ag
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Priority to US11/409,379 priority patent/US7890964B2/en
Priority to PCT/EP2006/003706 priority patent/WO2006111409A1/en
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    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q10/00Administration; Management
    • G06Q10/10Office automation, e.g. computer aided management of electronic mail or groupware; Time management, e.g. calendars, reminders, meetings or time accounting

Description

  Embodiments of the present invention relate to enterprise data access and, more particularly, to dynamically providing data to groupware clients based on context.

  This application is filed with US Provisional Patent Application No. 60 / 673,795, filed April 22, 2005 under [Section] 119 (e) of 35 USC, and April 2005. Claims priority to US Provisional Patent Application No. 60 / 673,794, filed on 22nd.

  In enterprise systems, workflows are often used by workflow participants when doing work. A workflow generally refers to a flow of tasks associated with a business process. Enterprises increasingly rely on computers to perform tasks associated with business processes, and hence workflow tasks. A computer may provide a mechanism for modeling, executing, and / or controlling a workflow, typically through a graphical user interface (GUI). The GUI can be associated with a special program or application that serves as an interface for processing the workflow. The traditional interface to workflow includes multiple unrelated desktop applications.

  Thus, participants in the workflow can receive notification of one or more tasks via an email application or other collaborative software, in which case they can complete the task. It may be necessary to launch a web browser, or other application, to access the corporate system. In addition to using separate unrelated applications to access work items, traditional groupware applications provide content options that provide a fixed type of access to data regardless of the user or work involved. Were determined.

  The method and apparatus provides context awareness to groupware clients for enterprise back-end systems. The groupware client generates a query or request for data in the context of the groupware client. The back end determines the context, which can include processing the display of the context received with the query. Data is selectively selected based on the context, and the selected data is provided to the groupware client to satisfy the request. In one embodiment, the back end determines the permissions associated with the context.

  The following description includes a study of various drawings with examples given as examples of implementations of embodiments of the invention. The drawings are to be understood as illustrative rather than limiting.

  As used herein, references to one or more “examples” are to be understood as describing particular features, structures, or characteristics that are included in at least one implementation of the invention. Thus, phrases such as “in one embodiment” or “in an alternative embodiment” appearing in this specification describe various embodiments and implementations of the invention and do not necessarily all refer to the same embodiment. Not exclusively. However, they are likewise not necessarily mutually exclusive. As well as discussing other potential embodiments or implementations of the inventive concepts presented herein, a specific, including description of the drawings, that may depict some or all of the embodiments described below. Details and implementation descriptions follow. An overview of embodiments of the present invention is provided below, with a more detailed description relating to the drawings.

  Extensions to groupware clients allow access to business processes through groupware clients. The content provided through the groupware client is context dependent content and may vary based on user identifier (ID), workflow identifier (ID), or other context. As used herein, groupware refers to any kind of collaborative software, such as e-mail software, spreadsheet software, and the like. Groupware is typically associated with a server that provides data and / or functionality to software. A client refers to a program, a routine, or the like that enables interaction with a groupware server. In one embodiment, a client refers to an application with a user interface that includes the native functionality for accessing the groupware server. In an alternative embodiment, the client may operate / exist / execute independently of the application with the user interface and in fact provide access functionality to the groupware server to multiple applications. Thus, a groupware client referred to herein may refer to a groupware application or may refer to a program that allows one or more applications to access a groupware server. The extensions described herein allow workflow participants to access and interact with business processes through groupware clients. In one embodiment, the groupware client is generated as a modeled software program.

  As used herein, a business process refers to a process that is widely used to perform work within an enterprise. One or more workflows may be associated with a business process for accomplishing the work through it. A workflow includes one or more phases or stages, and each phase is an action or activity to be performed / achieved in facilitating development towards the final goal of the business process. For example, an “employment” business process may include a “finding candidates” workflow, an “interviewing” workflow, etc., each of which achieves the ultimate goal of hiring an individual. There may be a plurality of related actions or activities that may be performed (eg, scheduling an interview time, arranging a trip for a candidate, etc.). Each phase of a workflow is referred to herein as a “task” that can be a single item of work (action) or a set of actions (activity). A workflow may include structured tasks for business processes and / or tasks for special purposes of business processes. A workflow may include context about the participant's organizational role, as well as documents, templates, or other data.

  The extensions provided to the groupware client may allow integration of business process tasks into the environment of the groupware client (or the application with which the groupware client is associated). In addition, these extensions can be modeled software that is recognized in other contexts in the groupware client (e.g., applications that are accessible from within the groupware client, e.g., available via a pop-up window or from a pull-down menu, Or in other cases, it can interact with applications running with groupware clients). Changing content based on the context or environment of the groupware client can be referred to as context aware or context aware client. Context awareness in the groupware client refers to the dynamic provision of data and / or tools within the groupware client based on context. Context refers to any number of environmental factors that can affect the permissions associated with groupware client access to corporate data. Factors include user ID including group or department relationships, business role, workflow to be executed, phase or action of the workflow to be executed, whether the user is online or offline, and data from there May include the type of device that is accessed. The groupware client context refers to the local environment of the groupware client and may or may not include external factors in addition to local factors.

  In response to various contexts, data can be selectively displayed, specific data objects can be provided from a groupware client provided by the backend system, or can be executed from within a groupware client The tools may be available or unavailable, or other things may be performed. A tool refers to one or more items that provide functionality for accessing, modifying, or otherwise manipulating data. Data that can be accessed and selectively provided by the groupware client includes data objects, templates, functions, services, data structures, and / or processes. A back-end system includes logic and services for managing and controlling data and processes and can be referred to as a business back-end system. The backend system includes an application that performs one or more special functions or services.

  The user interface of the groupware application appears to be familiar to workflow participants and may allow the integration of groupware application tools (eg, spell checking, translation, etc.) to workflow task performance. Groupware applications typically include various fields for presenting information and / or work about a user therein. Rather than providing multiple different applications, each having a different environment for performing work within it, the integration of enterprise data and context information in the groupware client is within the groupware application format, It is possible to provide a plurality of items having groupware application tools. For example, a special groupware application may include a folder list to provide access to data or work items. Rather than simple data that is locally available to groupware clients, or data that is available from a groupware server, the integration of corporate data into a groupware application by context-awareness allows the folder where the groupware application can access corporate data. Makes it possible to include. Context-aware integration allows users to connect to back-end enterprise systems in groupware applications, which allows users to access enterprise data and work items from the context of groupware applications. It means no need to change. The availability of data that is known in context from within groupware applications is in contrast to traditional systems where users are required to switch from one application to another to perform work. Thus, a workflow participant (ie, a user, or a subject participating in the workflow) interacts with the workflow through the well-known user interface of the groupware client, or an associated application with contextual dynamic data. (E.g., generate, process, track, set priority, etc.).

  In contrast to the integrated use of groupware with workflows described here, current email notifications, or other traditional features of groupware, are only a single task or a single action on the workflow Focus on. With respect to the integration of groupware functionality and enterprise access, business process information associated with the workflow presented in the groupware application is stored by the integrated groupware client. For simplicity purposes in the description, the use of the term “groupware client” may refer to a groupware client and / or its associated groupware application. Saving the information refers to making the information available to the workflow participant continuously or on request and from within the context of the groupware client. For example, status information may be provided to the groupware client to provide updated information regarding business processes within the groupware client. Similarly, or in the alternative, state information would be accessible, for example, when a workflow participant selects an item / icon or performs an action in a groupware client. Saving information may include storing information locally in the groupware client or in a storage location in the groupware server in addition to storing the information in the enterprise backend. . The stored data and the work provided in the workflow is dynamic and at least a portion of what is happening in the groupware client regarding who has access to what and when Offered on the basis of.

  FIG. 1 is a configuration diagram of an embodiment of a groupware content manager (content management means) for providing content to a groupware client by a business process extension unit. Application 110 represents any software program or other application that includes or accesses groupware client 116. Groupware client 116 provides interaction with groupware server 140 and it provides groupware information and / or services for groupware application 110. For example, groupware server 140 may be an email server (eg, an “EXCHANGE” server available from “MICROSOFT CORPORATION” in Redmond, Washington). In addition to traditional operations by groupware server 140, groupware server 140 uses extensions to allow groupware client 116 to access enterprise services and / or enterprise data for application 110. Can be included. The application 110 and the groupware server 140 can be connected directly or can be connected via the network 132.

  In one embodiment, the groupware server 140 is connected to the groupware interface 160 of the enterprise server 150 via the network 136. Network 132, network 136, and similarly network 134, described below, may include one or more local area networks (LANs) that include a wireless or wired network, and the hardware and software thereby operating the network. . For example, the networks 132-136 may similarly include other networks, such as wide area networks, corporate networks, virtual private networks (VPNs), and the like. While being in the same local network is not a requirement, in one embodiment, groupware server 140 is in the same local network as groupware interface 160 and / or enterprise server 150. The enterprise server 150 operates to provide enterprise data and represents both hardware and software that provides access and / or management.

  The groupware interface 160 represents hardware and / or software for providing groupware enterprise integration / management. In one embodiment, part or all of the groupware interface 160 is incorporated into the groupware server 140. In another embodiment, part or all of the groupware interface 160 is incorporated into the enterprise server 150. In another embodiment, part or all of the groupware interface 160 is an independent entity in hardware and / or software. In one embodiment, the groupware interface 160 is an Enterprise Services Architecture (ESA) that can be used in conjunction with the “mySAP” and “NETWEAVER” products available from “SAP AG” in “Walldorf”, Germany. ) And / or one or more components based on “MICROSOFT .NET”. In one embodiment, the groupware interface 160 is a server or manager product (eg, “MENDOCINO” server available from the joint efforts of “MICROSOFT CORPORATION” and “SAP AG”). Accordingly, the groupware interface 160 may be referred to as an interface server or enterprise groupware manager as well.

  The groupware interface 160 provides one or more mechanisms to allow either direct interaction between the groupware client 116 and the enterprise server 150 or through the groupware server 140. . The interaction may include a request between the groupware client 116 and the enterprise server 150 and a response to the request. From the groupware side, the groupware client 116 makes a request generated from within the application 110 to perform functions related to enterprise data related to the workflow that exists in the context of the application 110, and / or Actions or commands can be sent. The enterprise server 150 can provide reports, errors, status or other information, data objects, service access, etc. to the application 110 through the groupware interface 160.

  In one embodiment, the groupware interface 160 includes a groupware content manager 162 that represents one or more modules or agents that provide context awareness for data 118 presented to the groupware client 116, and the groupware content manager 162. Are successively provided to the user through a user interface (UI) 112.

  In one embodiment, groupware interface 160 is now used when application 110 is offline or disconnected and cannot access groupware server 140 and / or groupware interface 160 or enterprise server 150. “Retain” information related to the dynamic data 118 accessed in the application 110. As access is restored and the application 110 is back online, the information may be synchronized with information that is locally relevant to the application 110 associated with the data 118. Information synchronization can be performed when the application 110 is online, for example, through event-driven connectivity emanating from the application 110 and / or synchronously and / or asynchronously from the application 110 to the enterprise server. It can be generated through a pull daemon that initiates 150 accesses. The groupware interface 160 may include a repository or storage device where information may be retained locally or may be temporarily included until a synchronization opportunity (eg, event, action, simultaneously, etc.).

  The groupware content manager 162 obtains up-to-date information and status information and from there through dynamic data through interaction with the enterprise data 180 or through interaction with one or more services 190 by the framework 170. 118 is provided. Framework 170 provides a logic and service framework that enables groupware interface 160 to provide enterprise level information to groupware server 140. In one embodiment, groupware interface 160 and framework 170 are part of the same software and / or hardware module. In one embodiment, the groupware interface 160 may be considered a groupware-enterprise manager / server “groupware server” hierarchy and the framework 170 may be a groupware-enterprise manager / server “enterprise” hierarchy. I think that there is.

  The enterprise server 150 includes a framework 170 that thereby provides state information to the groupware server 140 and optionally represents structured logic for receiving requests or queries from the groupware server 140. Similar interactions can be provided directly to application 110 through the use of web service 164. In one embodiment, framework 170 includes a composite application framework (eg, “SAP CAF”) and / or a service architecture (eg, “SAP ESA (ENTERPRISE SERVICES ARCHITECTURE)”). The framework 170 may include a service mapper 172 that represents the logic for assigning requests or queries to the appropriate enterprise service. Data broker 174 represents logic for accessing enterprise data 180, including, for example, an enterprise resource planning (ERP) database (DB) 182. Other data may be available in the enterprise data 180. In one embodiment, framework 170 models backend logic to provide appropriate data and provide access to groupware server 140 / groupware client 116. In one embodiment, the composite application framework provides backend logic to the frontend (eg, application). As shown, the groupware server 140 can interface with the enterprise server 150 through extensions in much the same way that composite applications can interface with the enterprise backend.

  Service 190 broadly represents functions that can be performed on or performed on enterprise data. For example, service 190 may include one or more enterprise services that represent functions that can be performed with respect to a local enterprise. A local company refers to a company to which a workflow belongs. Local enterprises may include one or more domains, domain servers, local area networks (LANs) that are not wired or wireless, or virtual LANs (VLANs). The enterprise is generally local with respect to a server (specifically shown is enterprise server 150) that provides access to the user's device.

  A local company may be in contrast to a remote company that represents a non-local company. One or more elements of an information or data object, or one or more functions or services related to or operable with respect to a workflow, are remote (ie, managed separately) to the enterprise server 150. Can exist in a company. In one embodiment, one or more remote enterprise services may provide context data to the groupware client 116. One example of access to remote enterprise services includes access in a collaborative relationship between enterprises, for example, via a grid trading network. Grid trading networks generally allow users to access corporate data and share functionality across individual companies.

  Services 190 may also include one or more web services that typically represent one or more special websites or one or more services that provide access to the Internet. Service mapper 174 may determine which of services 190 can / was exercised to achieve the request / action received from groupware client 112. In one embodiment, the service mapper 174 may determine that the plurality of services 190 are appropriate services that thereby satisfy the request. Thus, multiple services 190 can be selected simultaneously or substantially simultaneously to provide functionality (eg, parallel selected by a single action or routine that is closest in time in time). Selected to run on). The use of multiple services 190 may mean the use of multiple enterprise services 192 and / or may mean the use of essentially different services (eg, enterprise services 192 and remote enterprise services 194, (Or any combination).

  The backend application 192 represents one example of an application that executes in the backend system, from which special data and / or functionality may be made available to the groupware client 116. Context awareness may include providing the application 110 with access to a particular service, while other services are not available. Thus, the backend application 192 may be available through services that are available by the groupware client 116 based on the context of the application 110. If the context allows access to the backend application 192, the groupware content manager 162 allows the groupware client 116 to access the appropriate service. If the context does not allow access, the service is probably inaccessible in the application at least until the context can allow access to the backend application 192.

  In one embodiment, in addition to accessing the enterprise server 150 through the groupware server 140 or as an alternative to accessing through the groupware server 140, the groupware client 116 and / or the application 110 may be a business (profession). A process extension 120 may be included. Business process extension 120 may be similar to the extension that would be provided to groupware server 140, but they would be different. The business process extension 120 may include a repository of information and / or a metadata processing engine so that the groupware client 116 can be provided with storage of state information and business process information. If the application 110 was to be run offline, the repository, or storage device, may store information that can later be passed to the enterprise server 150 and / or synchronized with the enterprise. The business process extension 120 may thereby provide logic for the groupware client 116 to interface with the groupware server 140 and / or process information exchanged with the groupware server 140. In one embodiment, business process extension 120 provides groupware client 116 with an interface to enterprise 150 through web service 164 that represents one or more web services for accessing enterprise server 150 thereby. Web service 164 represents one or more services accessible to application 110 / groupware client 116. Access to the web service is generally based on permissions and may include registering. The context of the application 110 may determine whether the web service 164 can provide access functionality to the enterprise server 150 and / or the groupware interface 160. Web service 164 refers to a function or routine through which access can be achieved.

  In one embodiment, the enterprise server 150 includes an object standardization unit 152 that represents one or more software and / or hardware modules. With the integration of enterprise data access in application 110, application 110 can potentially access any of a plurality of different types of data objects. The object standardization unit 152 may provide a common interface for objects sent to the application 110. The object standardization unit 152 may provide common formatting of objects or “look and feel” to extend the seamless nature of enterprise access integration. In one embodiment, the object standardization unit 152 includes a conversion device between enterprise backend formatting and the context of the application 110. Thus, the object can be accessed and presented in the application 110 in such a way that the object has the “look and feel” of the application 110. The text may be formatted, icons may be adapted, or other things may be performed. In addition, reports, alerts, features, etc. received from the enterprise can be presented in the application by the same atmosphere of similar items that occur locally within the application 110. In one embodiment, object standardization unit 152 provides functionality for providing context data within the context of application 110. Thus, if specific data and / or tools are available or not available within a specific context, the data and / or tools are selectively accessed as needed and Can be provided.

  The context or working environment of application 110 is indicated by context 114. The context 114 has priority or permission to access anything through which context information can be obtained (eg, username and password, priority, document, software version / status information, permissions, keys, or data). Any other information that may be shown). The context 114 may be passed to the enterprise server 150 and / or to the groupware interface 160 through any interaction mechanism between the groupware client 116 and the groupware interface 160. Accordingly, the enterprise server 150 may react to the context of the application 110 when providing information. A filter may be used to limit the data passed or services available that are appropriate for the permission indicated by the context 114. In one example, a filter may be provided to provide data / services that are associated with a priority or associated with a particular work context or application that is used. Thus, the adaptability and power of enterprise server 150 may be made available to workflow participants through groupware applications.

  FIG. 2 is a block diagram of an embodiment of a groupware application with company data provided by a groupware content manager. Groupware application 210 represents a groupware application and / or an associated groupware client according to any of the embodiments described herein. Application 210 includes application core 212, which represents code and logic that provides the general functionality of application 210. The business process extension is provided to the application 210 and the application core 212 represents an application without the extension. The extension provides the ability to interact with business processes from within the application 210. As described herein, the interaction can be further governed by the contextual awareness of the application 210, which can provide dynamic presentation of data / tools in the groupware application 210.

  Groupware content manager 270 provides context awareness regarding the availability of data / tools within groupware application 210. Enterprise data 214 represents groupware application 210 data and / or tools, which are managed by groupware content manager 270. In one embodiment, groupware manager 270 dynamically influences how workflows and / or other objects can be accessed / affected in groupware application 210. Represents a composite of various mechanisms within the extensions 222-228.

  The groupware application 210 includes or has access to one or more extensions that may include a process start program 222, an information interface program 224, a state tracking program 226, and an action start program 228, each of which is It can be implemented as one or more modules. Additional extensions or alternative extensions may be provided to result in applications that include some, all, or different modules of the modules shown in FIG. Each of the modules is structured to perform one or more functions related to accessing a workflow associated with the business process or otherwise interacting with the workflow associated with the business process. Logic can be provided.

  The process start program 222 provides logic for starting a workflow from within the context of the application 210. Thus, a workflow participant can generate a new workflow from within the context of the application 210. Rather than simply initiating a new workflow request, one or more actions from within application 210 may actually interface with business process backend 230 to generate a new workflow. As depicted, process initiation program 222 can initiate workflow 240 and phase 242. Note that application 210 is not limited to interacting with workflows generated from within the context of application 210. Workflow 240 includes phases 242 through 254, which may represent any number of distinct parts of workflow 240. A phase may be a specific event or condition may be required, run in parallel, or otherwise. The process initiation program 222 may limit the ability to generate a workflow based on the context of the groupware application 210.

  Information interface program 224 may provide an interface for collecting data and status, or other information related to the workflow accessed within application 210. Information interface program 224 may collect information from workflow 240 and / or information from backend logic 260. The information interface program 224 may be a repository of information obtained from the business process backend 230 or may include a repository of information and it may be included in an enterprise server.

  Back-end logic 260 represents any service or data that includes enterprise data 262, which may be accessible to application 210 through business process integration as described herein. Enterprise data 262 represents an enterprise repository that can include data objects, services, processes, process templates, and the like. The backend logic 260 should be understood as any data or function related to data that can be provided at the enterprise level through the enterprise server. Information interface program 224 may selectively obtain information / objects based on the context of groupware application 210. In one embodiment, a mechanism at the back end (eg, an implementation in which the groupware content manager 270 is a module in the business process back end 230) selects information to provide to the information interface program 224. In another embodiment, the information interface program 224 enforces restrictions on information access as compared to the context of the groupware application 210.

  The state tracking program 226 provides a mechanism that can monitor one or more workflows. The state tracking program 226 may include routines or other logic that may receive input regarding the workflow 240 and update information in the application 210 associated with the workflow 240. For example, the state tracking program 226 may store information in a state information repository, data structure, or other mechanism through which enterprise information is stored in the application 210. The state tracking program 226 may provide logic through which icons or text associated with the application 210 and displayed on the GUI are modified. The state tracking program 226 receives information related to the workflow 240. In one embodiment, different permissions may be applied as the state of the object changes, which may cause the groupware content manager 270 to change the availability for data / tools in the groupware application 210.

  The action initiation program 228 can send or receive an action or a request for an action. On the sending side, the action initiation program 228 can send an action to any phase in the workflow 240, for example, to perform a task associated with the phase. Similarly, the action initiation program 228 can send actions to the back-end logic 260 to operate on, or provide action to, the workflow 240 from within the enterprise level rather than from within the application 210. Accordingly, actions are selected for workflow 240 either directly or indirectly from actions performed within application 210. The action initiation program 228 may include functions associated with buttons or icons available from within the application 210. Thus, for example, clicking on a special icon or double-clicking performs a change to the workflow 240 or a change to the view provided for the workflow 240 (eg, changing from a list view to a table view, etc.). Or a guided process associated with the workflow 240 may be initiated. The action initiation program 228 can provide specific action requests and / or ignore specific action requests based on the context of the groupware application 210. On the receiving side, the action start program can receive updated information or incentives from the outside to the application 210 that can cause a function to be generated in the application 210. In one embodiment, such received actions may cause the application core 212 functions to be performed.

  The business process extension unit 120, object standardization unit 152, groupware interface 160, process start program 222, information interface program 224, state tracking program 226, action start program 228, and groupware content manager of FIG. May be implemented as modules that may include hardware, software, and / or combinations thereof. Software contained within the module may instruct the machine to perform the techniques described herein. In addition, software can be used to describe how to manufacture the device to perform the functions of these components. Such software may be provided by mechanical / electronic device / hardware products.

  One product may include a computer-accessible / computer-readable medium having content for providing instructions, data, etc. The content may result in an electronic device or computing system performing the various operations or executions described. A computer-accessible medium provides (ie, stores and / or transmits) information / content / instructions in a form accessible by a machine (eg, computing device, electronic device, electronic system / subsystem, etc.). Includes any mechanism. For example, computer accessible media includes write-once / non-write-once media (eg, read only memory (ROM), random access memory (RAM), magnetic disk storage media, optical storage media, flash memory devices, etc.). . The machine-accessible medium may further include an electronic device having code loaded in a storage device that may be executed when the electronic device is in operation. Thus, providing such a code to an electronic device can be understood as providing such content to a product as described above. Further, storing the code in a database, or other storage location, and providing the code for download over a communication medium (ie, providing the code for access) is such content as described above. Can be understood as providing a product having

  FIG. 3 is a block diagram of an embodiment of a groupware application having a business process workflow extension with company data provided by a groupware content manager. Groupware application 310 is one example of a groupware client and / or application based on any of the embodiments described herein. The groupware application 310 is an application that is found in an office productivity software suite (eg, “EXCEL” or “OUTLOOK” in “MICROSOFT OFFICE” available from “MICROSOFT CORPORATION”). obtain. The groupware application 310 includes a task bar 312 that can provide the application 310 with various icons and menus to provide functionality to the user of the application.

  In one example, the application 310 includes an action pane 320 that can provide additional functionality to the user. The action panel 320 may similarly be referred to as a task pane. In addition to having different functionality, the action panel 320 may provide navigation benefits for the taskbar 312. The action panel 320 provides one or more navigation functions and / or access to data or tools for performing work (eg, completing a task) and / or for performing work. Functional tools 322-328, which may be links, icons, folders, tabs, etc., are provided for providing. In one embodiment, the action panel 320 includes a tab 324 that provides dynamic access to the business process workflow within the context of the application 310. Application 310 includes several items shown in dotted lines. Items shown in dotted lines represent the fact that one or more objects may be visible and / or accessible based on all or part of the context of application 310. Thus, in one embodiment, item 322 and item 328 may be accessible only in certain contexts.

  For example, assume that item 322 is a folder that represents a special project, and accessing folder 322 provides access to various objects and / or workflows associated with the project. If the business process workflow 340 is not associated with the project associated with the folder 322, the context of the application 310 provides no association with the project, whether through the work to be performed and / or through permissions. As such, the folder 322 can be displayed but is not selectable or perhaps even displayed. In one embodiment, there is no action to perform on the project, and the folder 322 is inaccessible until a workflow task is provided to the application 310 (ie, the occurrence of an event or condition).

  Similarly, item 326 may be accessible within the context of application 310 and item 328 is not available under the same context. In addition to the dynamic display of the action / task navigation items 322-328, the content in the work panel 330, the business process workflow 340, and / or the tool 350 are moved according to the context of the application 310 as described in detail below. Can be affected.

  In addition to action panel 320, application 310 includes a work panel 330 that provides an area for viewing and executing work performed in application 310. Note that the layout of action panel 320 and work panel 330 is merely for illustrative purposes, and that action panel 320 may be placed in task bar 312 or anywhere else in application 310. is necessary. Work panel 330 includes one or more objects 332-336, which may be objects associated with workflows, processes, or other data. Based on the context, object 332 may be available, while other objects 334-336 may be inaccessible and / or invisible.

  Selection of item 326, or action relating to item 326, may provide a view of business process workflow 340. The view of the workflow 340 can exist in the work panel 330 or can exist in a separate window or panel (as shown in FIG. 3). Thus, an appropriate view within which enterprise level access tools can be provided within the context of application 310 can be enabled. The view of the workflow 340 may also include a tool 350, with items 352-356 for actions specific to acting on the workflow 340. Items 352-356 provide functionality to tie specific actions, or views, or data access to the back-end enterprise system. One example of a view of workflow 340 includes providing a view of each phase of the workflow. In the illustrated example, the view of workflow 340 provides a view of phase 342 of workflow 340. The view in phase 342 is the result of context awareness whereby data is provided to application 310. For example, the application 310 can provide a query or request for data to the back-end enterprise system associated with the business process workflow 340 in response to the selection of the item 326 corresponding to the workflow. For example, by passing a workflow ID by the application 310 along with a request for data, the backend system may determine that the context of the application 310 is the workflow 340.

  In addition to the immediate context information indicating that the application is acting on the workflow 340, the back-end system may determine the context information that the current phase of the workflow 342 that requires attention is phase 342. Thus, the view of workflow 340 presents a phase 342 comprising actions 344 and subactions 346 that can be selected for performance. In one example, phase 342 includes an action 348 that may be inaccessible by the current context. For example, action 348 may depend on the action or item of information to be identified as the action of action 344. Accordingly, action 348 may be inaccessible until action 344 is completed. In response to completion of action 344, action 348 may be made accessible. Each action / subaction may include one or more tools to perform one or more items of information related to the work of the action and the task.

  Tool 350 may be provided dynamically based on context awareness as well. For example, phase 342 of workflow 340 may be related to salary information. Tool 350 may include item 352 and item 356 related to changing salaries and / or bonuses. If workflow 340 is displayed to a user with whom the information is relevant, the user may be able to see salary and bonus information, but changing it is restricted. If the workflow 340 is displayed to the administrator of the user with whom the information is associated, the administrator may be able to view and modify salary and bonus information. Any of the items shown in dotted lines can be selectively displayed and / or accessible, or any combination of items shown in dotted lines in FIG. 3 and items not shown in dotted lines, Note that it may be selectively displayed and / or accessible. Thus, special tabs in the action panel 320, special objects in the work panel 330, special aspects of the workflow 340, and / or special items of the tool 350 can be alone or any other of the same or different items. Along with things, it can be selectively accessible.

  The groupware application 310 is connected to the groupware content manager 370, possibly by a network 360. In one embodiment, one or more elements of groupware content manager 370 are included in groupware application 310 and / or device execution application 310. The groupware content manager 370 includes one or more modules, which can be implemented in hardware and / or software, in which one or more modules are as all or part of the modules provided by the product. Can be implemented. Query process module 372 allows groupware content manager 370 to receive and process queries or requests for data. The query may be generated from the application 310 and may indicate one or more items of information indicating the context (eg, user ID, workflow ID, etc.). Query process module 372 may parse information in the query and determine what enterprise data is requested from the backend system.

  A context determiner module 374 allows the groupware content manager 370 to determine the context of the query. The query context refers to the context of the application 310 from which the query is created. For example, a query may be generated in response to launching the application 310 and / or regarding attempts to access information related to special projects, workflows, actions, etc. that are available to the user from within the application 310. . The context determination module 374 identifies a context from the identifier received by the query process module 372 and / or works performed, recently accessed data, recently accessed and / or completed tasks, work It has the ability to get context from items such as a worklist or a dynamic work center. In one embodiment, the context determination module identifies the role associated with the user for a particular work item. Permission identifier module 376 allows groupware content manager 370 to determine the permissions associated with a special context.

  Permission allows access to special data and / or tools / features / services that can potentially be used for special views, special applications, special workflows, special departments, etc. To do. The authorization confirmation module 376 includes an authorization information repository associated with special conditions (eg, special roles, special phases of a workflow, etc.) and / or rules store. Contains or has access to one or more repositories. Permissions can be stored for special scenarios, or for special users, or permission confirmation module 376 is generally applicable to all conditions and is limited by the special context information provided Permission can be obtained based on rules, look-up tables, etc. Authorization can refer to services available to special groupware clients. In one embodiment, the services available to the groupware client differ based on the groupware client context.

  Data selector module 378 enables groupware content manager 370 to selectively select data to provide to application 310. In one embodiment, the data selector module 378 can access all requested data and selectively access only the data associated with the query according to permissions. In another embodiment, a data access enforcement module exists in the database of information and the data selector module 378 has only the ability to access data provided by authorization. . Note that some data can be left unaccessed based on permissions. Similarly, some data can be explicitly accessed based on permissions.

  Transmitter 380 allows groupware content manager 370 to provide selected data to application 310. Transmitter 380 includes one or more interfaces for providing selected data thereby connecting to application 310.

  FIG. 4 is a flowchart of an embodiment of selecting corporate data for a groupware client based on a user role associated with the groupware client. FIG. 4 provides an overview of the various operations that can be performed, as well as the entities that can perform them. Groupware client 402 represents a groupware client according to any implementation described herein. The groupware client 402 generates a query for data (412). The query may be generated in response to receiving an action by the user. For example, a query can be generated in response to a user's workflow selection (generalized request) or can be generated in response to a user's specific data selection (specific request). The query may be generated as part of groupware client 402 loading. The query may be generated in response to receipt of a workflow task associated with a special workflow or other data at the groupware client. Queries can similarly be generated for other events, for other conditions, or for others.

  In one embodiment, the requests are consolidated by user ID (414). The user ID may indicate a specific user and / or user role. The user ID and request are provided to the enterprise server 404. The enterprise server 404 determines the role associated with the received user ID (416). The user's role can be derived from the user ID, where the backend application can maintain a repository of information or access information maintained by the company that indicates the role associated with the special user ID. The repository may also include information indicating permissions associated with or corresponding to the role. A role includes a position within an organization (eg, developer, manager, manager) or a position in a project or team (eg, team leader).

  Enterprise server 404 accesses the data that is the subject of the query (418). Data associated with a query may include more data than can be accessed with a role and associated permissions. Accordingly, enterprise server 404 may select data based on roles (420). Data selection may be performed based on a rule engine that enforces permissions for data access. The selected data is provided to the groupware client by the enterprise server 404 (422). Groupware client 402 may then display the data selectively provided in the user interface (424).

  FIG. 5 is a flowchart of an embodiment of selecting enterprise data for a groupware client based on a context associated with the groupware client. The user 502 activates the groupware client (512). A groupware client may be initiated as part of loading an application that connects to a groupware server. In one embodiment, as part of the start of groupware client 504, the groupware client generates a query for data (514). A query for data may similarly be generated in response to selection of special tools, data views, workflows, etc. by user 502 in the context of groupware client 504. Accordingly, the groupware client 504 may receive commands for special views or operations and may generate requests for related data in response to the commands. The groupware client 504 generates a request for the back-end enterprise server that includes the data and a mechanism for processing the data thereby.

  The groupware client 504 provides a user identifier to the backend (516). The user identifier can be determined, for example, from the operating system on which the groupware client 504 is running. The user will also be required to “login” and provide a user identifier for access to information or tools. The user identifier, although it may be, is not necessarily the same identifier used in the context of the operating system or network connection. In one example, the groupware client 504 can similarly determine the workflow identifier associated with the query. For example, a request may be associated with a view on data associated with a particular workflow, either directly or indirectly through a request associated with a workflow action. Thus, a view-related operation or command or request can be associated with a workflow having a special identifier. The groupware client 504 provides the workflow identifier to the enterprise server (518).

  In response to the request, enterprise server 506 determines the context associated with the query (520). The context may be shown directly from the groupware client 504. Similarly, the enterprise server 506 can determine the context from information related to the workflow identifier, user identifier, metadata associated with the request, and the like. Enterprise server 506 may access (522) the data that is the subject of the query and selectively select (524) the data to provide to groupware client 504 based in whole or in part on the context. The enterprise server 506 provides the selected data to the groupware client (526), which can then populate the task panel of the user interface of the application associated with the groupware client. (528). Based on the information and / or tools provided, the user 502 may then complete the workflow action (530).

  In addition to those described herein, various modifications can be made to the disclosed embodiments and implementations of the invention without departing from their scope. Accordingly, the examples and examples described herein are to be regarded as illustrative and not in a limiting sense. The scope of the invention should be evaluated by reference to the appended claims.

It is a block diagram of the Example of the groupware content manager for providing a content with respect to a groupware client by a business process expansion part. FIG. 6 is a block diagram of an embodiment of a groupware application with company data provided by a groupware content manager. It is a block diagram of the Example of the groupware application which has a business process workflow expansion part by the company data provided by the groupware content manager. 6 is a flowchart of an embodiment of selecting corporate data for a groupware client based on a user role associated with the groupware client. 6 is a flowchart of an embodiment of selecting enterprise data for a groupware client based on a context associated with the groupware client.

Explanation of symbols

110 Application 112 User Interface 114 Context 116 Groupware Client 118 Data 120 Business Process Extension 132 Network 134 Network 136 Network 140 Groupware Server 150 Enterprise Server 152 Object Standardization Unit 160 Groupware Interface 162 Groupware Content Manager 164 Web Service 170 Framework 172 Service Mapper 174 Data Broker 180 Company Data 182 Company Resource Planning Database 190 Service 192 Backend Application 210 Groupware Application 212 Application Core 214 Company Data 222 Process Start Program 2 24 information interface program 226 state tracking program 228 action start program 230 business process backend 240 workflow 242 244 246 248 250 250 252 254 phase 260 backend logic 262 company data 270 groupware content manager 310 groupware application 312 Task bar 320 Action panel 322, 324, 326, 328 Action / task navigation item 330 Work panel 332, 334, 336 Object 340 Business process workflow 342 Phase 344 Action 346 Subaction 348 Action 350 Tool 352, 354, 356 Item 360 Network 370 groupware content manager 372 queries the process module 374 context determination module 376 permits confirmation module 378 data selector module 380 transmitter 402 groupware client 404 the enterprise server 502 the user 504 groupware client 506 enterprise server

Claims (17)

  1. A method performed by an enterprise server to provide data to a groupware client application (GCA) of an office productivity application suite comprising :
    From the GCA, comprises receiving produced in the context of the GCA is a local working environment of the GCA together about the enterprise-level data, the request for enterprise-level data, in the enterprise server,
    The GCA is a collaborative application having an associated groupware server, the groupware server providing services to the collaborative application;
    The GCA has inherent functionality to access the associated groupware server, but not to the enterprise server,
    The extension to the GCA bypasses the groupware server directly to allow the GCA to access enterprise level data while leaving unaffected access to other data by the GCA through the groupware server. Enabling to interact with the corporate server
    The enterprise level data is associated with a workflow execution provided from within the context of the GCA, and
    The method further comprises:
    Determining at the enterprise server the context of the GCA in which the request was generated , the step comprising identifying a workflow associated with the request ;
    Selecting a corporate data based at least in part on the determined context,
    In response to the request , providing the selected data in the context of the GCA to the GCA through the extension, the stage from the context of the GCA to the enterprise level data The GCA provides functionality in the GCA that interacts with enterprise level data associated with the workflow provided by the context of the GCA without having to change to another application to access the GCA. Integrating the selected data into the user interface of the GCA so as to allow interaction with the selected data through the method.
  2. The method of claim 1, wherein receiving the request from the GCA comprises receiving the request from an email client.
  3. The method of claim 1 step of receiving the request for the enterprise level data, characterized in that it comprises the step of receiving a request for workflow object.
  4. Identifying the workflow comprises:
    Receiving a workflow identifier with the request ;
    Determining the status of the workflow ;
    The method of claim 1, further comprising a step of identifying the data associated with the current phase of the workflow.
  5. The method of claim 1 , wherein determining the context of the GCA includes confirming a permission associated with the request .
  6. Confirming the permission associated with the request comprises :
    Receiving a user identifier with the request ;
    6. The method of claim 5 , further comprising the step of verifying permissions associated with the user identifier.
  7. Confirming the permission associated with the request comprises :
    Identifying the business role associated with the request ;
    6. The method of claim 5, further comprising the step of verifying permissions associated with the business role.
  8. Selecting company data based on the determined context comprises:
    Accessing corporate data associated with the request ;
    A data associated with the request, as well as select the accessible all of the data in accordance with permission associated with the determined context to include the steps of not select the inaccessible data according to the permission The method of claim 1, characterized in that:
  9. 2. The method of claim 1 , wherein providing the selected data to the GCA comprises populating the selected data into a task panel of the GCA .
  10. Providing the selected data to the GCA causes the GCA to display the business object as accessible if the data is provided with respect to a business object, and the data is provided with respect to the business object. 2. The method of claim 1, comprising providing the selected data to cause the GCA to display the business object as inaccessible if not.
  11. Determining the context of the GCA includes determining the context from one or more of a business role, user identifier, or workflow identifier associated with the GCA.
    The method according to claim 1.
  12. A computer readable storage medium having a program stored thereon for providing instructions to cause a computer to perform operations in an enterprise data interface, the operations comprising:
    Receiving from a groupware client application (GCA) of an office productivity application suite a request for data generated in the context of the GCA that is the GCA's local work environment;
    The GCA is a collaborative application having an associated groupware server, the groupware server providing services to the collaborative application;
    The GCA has inherent functionality to access the associated groupware server, but not to the enterprise server,
    The extension to the GCA bypasses the groupware server directly to allow the GCA to access enterprise level data while leaving unaffected access to other data by the GCA through the groupware server. Enabling to interact with the corporate server
    The data is provided from within the context of the GCA and is associated with execution of a workflow managed by a server other than the groupware server;
    The operation further comprises
    Determining the context of the GCA comprising identifying the workflow associated with the request;
    In response to determining the context, determining permission of the GCA to access the requested data;
    In response to the request, selectively providing some or all of the requested data in the context of the GCA to the GCA through the extension, the step comprising: The extension that provides functionality in the GCA that interacts with data associated with the workflow provided by the context of the GCA without having to change from the context to another application to access the enterprise level data A portion of the GCA that selects the selected data based at least in part on the permission of the GCA to access the requested data to allow interaction with the data through the GCA. Including integration into the user interface and Computer-readable storage medium characterized <br/> include.
  13. The step of receiving the request for the data, the computer readable storage medium of claim 12, characterized in that it comprises the step of receiving a request for workflow object.
  14. The step of providing the requested data selectively is, computer-readable of claim 12, characterized in that it comprises the step of providing a tool that provides the functionality to manipulate data on the GCA Storage medium .
  15. A system,
    A back-end enterprise device including one or more enterprise servers having data accessible through the service ;
    A groupware client application (GCA) of an office productivity application suite that has a context and generates a request from within the context for data provided by the backend enterprise device;
    The context is indicated by an identifier and is a local working environment of the GCA;
    The GCA is a collaborative application having an associated groupware server, the groupware server providing services to the collaborative application;
    The GCA has inherent functionality to access the associated groupware server, but not to the enterprise server,
    The extension to the GCA bypasses the groupware server directly to allow the GCA to access enterprise level data while leaving unaffected access to other data by the GCA through the groupware server. Enabling to interact with the corporate server
    The data is provided from within the context of the GCA and is associated with execution of a workflow managed by a server other than the groupware server;
    The system further comprises:
    Content management means connected to the back-end enterprise device and the GCA;
    The content management means is
    Receiving the request for data,
    Identifying the context of the GCA in response to receiving the request, and identifying the workflow associated with the request in response to identifying the context;
    In response to the request, selectively providing the data related to the request of the GCA in the context of the GCA through the extension to the GCA;
    Provide functionality in the GCA that interacts with the data associated with the workflow provided by the context of the GCA without having to change from the context of the GCA to another application for accessing the enterprise level data Integrating the selected data into the user interface of the GCA so as to allow the extension to interact with the data through the GCA .
  16. The content management unit, a business role associated with the GCA, by identifying one or more of the user identifiers or workflow identifier, to claim 15, wherein the identifying the context of the GCA The system described.
  17. The content management means further determines a current phase of the workflow and provides data related only to the current phase of the workflow to identify the workflow indicated in the request. The system according to claim 15 .
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US11/409,379 US7890964B2 (en) 2005-04-22 2006-04-20 Methods and apparatus for contextual awareness in a groupware client
US11/409,379 2006-04-20
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